The first green revolution was fairly successful in putting the country on a path to self-sufficiency of food by focusing mainly on improving the genetic potential of low yielding varieties to high yielding ones. This was coined as the 'Seed to Grain' revolution by Mr. Subramaniam. While analyzing the impact of the first green revolution during the 90's, he observed that it had certain limitations. He felt that it could not help achieve absolute sustainability in agriculture and had only partially addressed the needs of rural India. He felt that the majority of the Indian farmers comprising mainly the small and marginal farmers were not able to reap the actual benefits of the first green revolution as they were not capable enough to afford and adopt modern agriculture. Farming was increasingly becoming more unsustainable due to changing trends and liberalization. While examining the complexities and the challenges of India's agricultural sector, Mr. Subramaniam realized what a population rich country like India needs is a second green revolution, which can create a self-sustaining agri-cycle in rural India; for increasing the food output and availability to masses, without adversely affecting the environment.Thus, he founded NAF to revive rural India with prime focus on sustainable agricultural development.
Dr. A P J Abdul Kalam succeeded Mr Subramaniam as the Chairman of NAF Governing Council and he held this post till he became the President of India. The Foundation aims at transforming the direction of the Indian agriculture from production-oriented to market-oriented or in the words of Mr. Subramanian from seed to grain to soil to market by developing an integrated & innovative rural development model which can be replicated across India. Since its inception in 2000, NAF as a Public Charitable Trust has adopted a multi-pronged rural development strategy encompassing agricultural development, infusion of technology, comprehensive soil health management, efficient farm management, watershed and natural resource management, lean farming, livestock development, functional literacy, rural sanitation & public health, human resource development, establishment of self-help groups particularly among women, self-employment opportunities, farmers federations, farmers club and facilitating institutional credit among others to achieve food sovereignty for all and to create a prosperous rural India.